How to Reduce the Recent Flood of Immigration

in immigration •  4 months ago

Image of Guatemalans

We have a flood of immigrants and refugees coming from the Northern Triangle (Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador). We will continue to debate border security and immigration policy, but we can also take a step back and consider how to improve the lives of people in the Northern Triangle, so that they do not feel the need to flee to our country. So - why are people in these countries struggling so much? Open to other ideas (and possible solutions), but here are some:

First: Increase Economic Freedom

Guatemalan immigrants are famously entrepreneurial. Guatemalans driven to start a successful business want to come to America to make it happen. Why? More than 72% of businesses in Guatemala operate underground - it takes 256 hours to comply with Guatemalan tax code, and total tax take is 35.2% of profits. In addition, there's a lot of unnecessary regulatory red tape politically purchased by established businesses. Lack of government recognition makes it impossible for Guatemalan businesses to get credit.

The obvious solution is an overhaul of the tax, regulatory and legal systems in order to increase economic freedom. A lower tax rate and a simpler code would give companies an incentive to operate legally, thereby broadening the base and improving access to credit.

That's not something America has a role in accomplishing (other than through verbal encouragement). We do need to take a hard look at the economic situation in the Northern Triangle, though, and make sure we don't emulate the clear failures caused by big government, anti-business policies there.

Second: Reduce the Power and Influence of Drug Cartels

Drug cartels have gained immense power in the Northern Triangle. This is a huge, huge factor in the surge of people desperate to enter our country. Migrants are often truly refugees, fleeing horrific violence perpetrated by these mafia-type organizations.

a) Legalize/Decriminalize Drugs

Legalize soft drugs like marijuana that people can take without becoming violent criminals or addicts. Decriminalize hard drugs, sending nonviolent offenders to treatment to treat addiction and restore mental capacity. In both cases, Americans legally produce and sell these substances, completely cutting off the insanely powerful economic incentive for people to cross our borders with illegal drugs. That would also ensure purity, prohibiting unethical sellers from intentionally creating addicted repeat customers with tainted drugs.

We have reason to believe that legalization/decriminalization works. Ending (alcohol) prohibition eliminated the associated violent cartels overnight. Multiple countries have experimented with decriminalization, legalization, or a combination of the two, with successful results.

That's not something one Congressperson could accomplish. Changing hearts and minds is upstream from political change of that magnitude.

b) More Accurate, Honest Education

Schools and parents have a role in providing kids with accurate, honest, age-appropriate information about drugs. Grassroots information campaigns are also effective at providing adults with information.

Most people have a strong sense of self-preservation. If they learn what types of harm different drugs actually cause, and the high risk of contamination, they would be more likely to avoid them. Learning which drugs are most strongly associated with violent criminality would also be relevant. In addition, it would be good for people to know which drugs are most strongly associated with violent drug cartels.

c) Boycott Violent Drug Cartels: Voluntarily Reduce Illegal Drug Use

Many people use drugs on a recreational basis, meaning they are not addicts and would be fully capable of boycott. Demand for illegal drugs is directly causing immense human suffering in the Northern Triangle and elsewhere. Making drugs legal is one solution; its not the only solution. Voluntarily reducing illegal drug use as a way to reduce the power and influence of violent drug cartels would work, too. Individual drug users can decide which they value more: taking illegal drugs, or boycotting violent drug cartels. Different individuals will make different choices. We should at least be connecting the dots, and putting this option on the table.

d) Better Drug-Related Border Security (not recommended)

The more expensive and difficult it is for external drug cartels to get drugs into our country, the less it will happen. This option would admittedly help cut the legs out from under violent drug cartels in the Northern Triangle. However, heightened border security is itself quite expensive. In addition, and of far greater concern, strong economic pressures would produce an unintended consequence: more illegal drug production and illegal drug cartels within our country. We've witnessed how drug cartels can destroy nations. That would be a horrible outcome.

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Thanks for the post, swanson4liberty.

I hope you don't mind if I test out some sentiment analysis on your post. This is an experimental bot running on a small % of posts, and if reaction is positive I'll increase that ratio and add features.

Your post had an average negative sentiment of 0.169 and an average positive sentiment of 0.177

The most positive sentence in your post had a positivity score of 0.433:

"Making drugs legal is one solution; its not the only solution."

The most negative sentence in your post had a negativity score of 0.467:

"That would be a horrible outcome."


Interesting! Thank you for running that analysis. I really like the idea of determining positive and negative sentiment, and overall sentimentality.


Glad that this is something of interest to you. Hopefully in time I can improve on this tool to provide even more useful and actionable information to content creators like yourself.

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Colombia has been able to fix their drug cartel problem so I think other countries will too. It will just take decades before it is done.

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Colombia was able to temporarily and partially disrupt drug cartels by cracking down with a concerted law and order effort. Heightened government crackdown in countries with a drug cartel problem is another tactic, and it's one I should have included and discussed above. Unfortunately, yet predictably (given ongoing strong economic pressures), Colombian drug cartels are once again rising in power - often with Mexican drug cartel recruiting demobilized FARC guerrillas.


Yeah I heard abt the Mexico one but didn't know they're on the rise again in Colombia. Why don't they just do other things to make money right? Why do they do bad things when they can probably use their talents in other ways.

I'd like to think Colombia is a better place now. The people's efforts were not in vain and I hope everyone there will not allow the drug cartels to rise again.

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I enjoyed your view. I think you are on track. A lot of great thought looks like it went into this. Thank you for the read. I enjoyed it much.

@swason4liberty, thank you for the post. All the points are necessary in order to stem the tide of illegal immigration. These are daunting tasks that the US must continue to work towards. If we were to choose a part to play, I'd choose 2b. The others are "out of my sphere" or "above my paygrade" so to speak. If there's one thing I'd disagree is decriminalizing hard drugs. That does not drive down demand, if anything, it'll increase acceptability. Marijuana may be soft but the reality of it is that it's a gateway drug to the harder stuff. Anyways, my 2-bits to the conversation thread.


No marijuana is not a gateway drug. If you don't want to take drugs then don't.